All Balls Don’t Bounce

Completely Random Sports Non Sequiturs From A Completely Random Hip Hop Head

All Aboard the Gunnercoaster

Posted by hiphopmama on November 30, 2008

Chelsea 1-2 Arsenal

  • 1-0 Johan Djourou (og), 30′
  • 1-1 Robin Van Persie, 59′
  • 2-1 Robin Van Persie, 62′

Friggin’ remarkable. Flippin’ incredible. Effing insane. I’m trying to stop cussing since my daughter will repeat the last word in any sentence she hears, so that’s the best I can do to convey the sheer ridiculousness that is the Arsenal season and this game in particular. They essentially didn’t concede a goal to Chelsea all game and scored three of their own. One of those they happened to put in their own net via Johan Djourou, but Van Persie made up for it by scoring two of his own for the right team. 

Everything looked to be going according to expectations. Chelsea were dominating possession with their beautiful passing game, and they certainly appeared to be the likelier of the two teams to score. That’s sort of what happened when Almunia made a boneheaded play, throwing the ball out right to Chelsea right back Jose Bosingwa. The resulting cross came dangerously across the six yard box, and Djourou slid in to deflect it. That it ended up in the Arsenal net was as much his fault as the goalkeeper’s, which I’m sure Almunia knew. 

The first half ended inauspiciously, and the beginning of the second looked to bring more of the same, with Lampard narrowly missing a chance to put Chelsea up two goals. Instead, Robin Van Persie was the happy recipient of a no-call by referee Mike Dean, who was well positioned but still declined to blow his whistle when RVP received a pass from Denilson in an offside position. Because Dean appeared to be in the right place to make the call,  announcer Robbie Earl (?) made the case that the ball deflected off a Chelsea defender, thus keeping him onside. I’m not sure this qualifies as being “played by” a Chelsea player instead of a teammate, but whatever the case, the goal stood and Arsenal tied the game.

There was no dispute about the second goal, which came a mere three minutes later. Van Persie secured the ball on the edge of the area, made a beautiful turn, and fired an accurate shot to the bottom right corner, seemingly surprising Cech and sneaking it past him. And that was all she wrote. Arsenal did have to hold on the rest of the way, including four minutes of added time, but it wasn’t as much of a struggle as you might have thought and they played steady enough to get the win. 

There have been so many of these dramatic ups followed by abysmal downs that I’m hesitant to draw any conclusions from this game one way or another. But with Cesc now 2-0 as captain, you get the impression this *might* just be the start of something good, or at least something not bad. It still wasn’t the greatest game, but it built steadily on their performance against Dynamo Kiev and hopefully set them up for a streak of good games. If they can continue this progression, inch by inch, they can begin to restore some of the confidence they sent packing over the course of their dreadful start to the season. They can prove their renewed mettle Tuesday in a Carling Cup match against Burnley and then again on Saturday at home against Wigan. Two winnable games that Arsenal must capitalize on if they want to right the ship. I’m betting they can pull it off.

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